Discounting and dynamic shelf life to reduce fresh food waste at retailers

M.E. Buisman*, R. Haijema, J.M. Bloemhof-Ruwaard

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Approximately 89 million of tonnes of food is wasted every year in the EU along the whole food supply chain. The reasons for food waste by retailers include inappropriate quality control, overstocking and inaccurate forecasting. This study shows that food wasted by retailers can be reduced by discounting old products or by applying a dynamically adjustable expiration date (in other words dynamic shelf life (DSL)). We developed a simulation based optimization model to optimize the replenishment and discounting policy of a retailer who sells meat products. DSL outperforms a fixed shelf life (FSL) in terms of profit, waste, shortages and food safety. Furthermore, replenishment quantities can be higher. The benefits of DSL are greater when demand is low or when the shelf life of products is short. Discounting is a successful strategy to reduce food waste for both FSL and DSL. DSL without discounting is more effective than FSL with discounting. Combining DSL and discounting, allows for a further reduction of food waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-284
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Early online date21 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Consumer behaviour
  • Discounting
  • Dynamic shelf life
  • Food waste reduction
  • Perishable food product
  • Retail inventory management

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  • Projects

    REFRESH: Resource Efficient Food and dRink for the Entire Supply cHain


    Project: EU research project

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